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Day 8: New Sketches From Son Lux's Album-In-A-Month Project

by Ryan Lott
Feb 8, 2011

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NOTE: All this month, we're tracking the artist known as Son Lux as he writes and records an entire album from start to finish. Previous posts: Day One, Day Three, Day Four.

I spent the first week in good company, bringing friends from yMusic into my studio at Butter in the evenings.

Starting with small sketches, a few of which you can hear in posts from Day Three and Day Four, I then wrote as many little stream-of-consciousness fragments for members of yMusic as I had time to crank out. Many of these fragments were really just musical puzzles and challenges I issued to the players. I started with violin, trumpet, guitar and a string trio.

Rather than getting everything all set and arranged and scored, then bringing in players to execute it all, I'm going backwards. Recording as early as possible imbues the project with certain restrictions and risks. This kind of self-imposed limitation and unpredictability is core to my process, as it helps me from developing creative habits.

Working with the audio becomes problem-solving, and that means creative solutions that may be unconventional, surprising and unique. Check out this moment, where CJ Camerieri, co-founder of yMusic, plays four crazy, interlocking trumpet parts. This is an example of a ridiculous idea I didn't have time to rethink:

Once I tracked it and CJ killed it, it inspired an entire section or subplot to one of the tunes. Listen to how I brought in a synth to double the trumpets in canon. Then, the juxtaposition of other elements from the sketch led to a wild, unexpected concoction of sound.

This week, I'll continue to develop material by "reacting" to the audio I recorded in Week One. Next week is woodwinds. Keep reading and listening...

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